This post explains how the investigating grand jury process works in the federal court system, from the point of view of an experienced New Jersey federal criminal defense lawyer,
The Investigating Grand Jury in Federal Cases
This type of grand jury investigates a case to determine whether or not an indictment is warranted. First, an investigating grand jury typically requests and obtains documents through issuing subpoenas. From there, the prosecutor typically follows this process with the investigating grand jury:
- Calls non-essential witnesses or presents their testimony via agents
- Calls immunized cooperators and witnesses
- Goes back to see if previously uncooperative witnesses are now willing to testify
- Finishes presenting their case with an agent who summarizes the investigation and provides information about missing details
This process can take months or even years to unfold, and the investigation doesn’t end just because the grand jury’s term does. The prosecutor may elect to extend the grand jury’s term, or they may have a government agent summarize everything for a new grand jury. When the time comes to make a charging decision, the prosecutor summarizes all documents and testimony to the grand jury. Before the grand jury votes, the prosecutor explains the legal aspects of the charges and how their evidence may satisfy the elements of those charges. The prosecutor asks the jury if there are any questions and then provides them with the completed proposed indictment. Investigating grand juries don’t draft indictments. Rather, they vote up or down on them. A majority vote is enough to return an indictment, and the defense never learns the specific numbers of the vote, just that they indicted or not.
Hire a Skilled New Jersey Federal Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you are facing federal criminal charges, including are being investigated by a federal grand jury, it is crucial to obtain experienced legal representation as soon as possible. You can call me, Tim Anderson at (732) 212-2812 to schedule an appointment to confidentially discuss your matter.
While all federal criminal cases contain elements of complexity, it is in the sentencing phase of the case where federal cases require an attorney who fully understands the complexity and ambiguity presented by the interaction of the federal sentencing guidelines and case law.
Under U.S. Supreme Court precedent, including Blakely v. Washington and United States v. Booker, the federal sentencing guidelines are no longer treated as mandatory. Because they are now advisory, the judge needs to take them into consideration, but the guidelines do not dictate the sentence. The cases of Rita, Gall, Kimbrough, and Spears solidified the discretion that a sentencing judge has to deviate from the advisory guideline range. More than ever, the terms of a sentence may be influenced by well-crafted arguments of counsel. You want an attorney experienced in handling the complex arguments necessary to obtain the best possible sentencing result in light of this new treatment of the federal sentencing guidelines.
What should I do if I am facing being sentenced in federal court?
If you are charged with a federal offense, you should speak with a knowledgeable federal criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. At the Law Offices of Timothy R. Anderson, Tim Anderson’s understanding of the federal sentencing guidelines allows him to develop arguments that best serve his clients. The goal in any federal sentencing matter is to minimize the federal sentence that is imposed. Tim Anderson has extensive experience in handling the sentencing phase of federal criminal cases, and has achieved outstanding results in dozens of federal cases.
Allegations of criminal fraud have been more prominent in the news lately, such as regarding alleged fraud on Wall Street or in such organizations as FIFA, the world soccer organization. I’m a New Jersey white collar crimes lawyer and I can explain the details of what constitutes acts of “fraud” and what defenses can be used to combat the allegations.
What Is Fraud?
If a person uses deception to embezzle or steal various forms of property, including money from others, it is considered fraud. I, as a New Jersey white collar crimes lawyer know that when the state or government allege fraud there is usually an allegation of intentional misrepresentation of one form or another by the alleged perpetrator. Additionally fraud can occur if vital information isn’t provided regarding the product or offer.
Various Forms of Fraud
There are numerous forms of fraud. The following are different acts that are classified as fraud:
With the increasing number of ways in which a person makes his or her personal information available, identity theft is becoming more common. Stealing a Social Security number or other important pieces of identifying information is a form of identity theft. Stealing banking information or credit card numbers is also identity theft.
There are federal laws against the use of the mails to commit fraud. Mail fraud allegations can apply to shipments made through the US Postal Service or any other mail carrier, such as UPS or FedEx, and such charges carry potentially severe penalties, including up to 20 years in prison for each count of mail fraud.
After Bernie Madoff committed what was said to be the largest Ponzi scheme in the history of the United States, it became well-known as the epitome of such a scam where many victims lose their entire life savings. Named for a thief from Italy who operated in the 1920s, the idea is that investors are attracted by the promise of a safe investment and big returns. As more and more investors join and provide money, the operators of the scheme will take a portion of the money and use the rest to make “lulling” payments to the investors who came in earlier. This type of scam is destined to eventually collapse under its own weight as the scammer runs out of people who will join while simultaneously being unable to provide enough money to keep the current investors from becoming suspicious.
Contact an Experienced New Jersey White Collar Crimes Lawyer
If you have been accused of some type of criminal fraud, including any of the above-listed acts, it is imperative that you immediately begin preparing a strong defense. Call me, an experienced New Jersey white collar crimes lawyer, at (732) 212-2812. I can help.
A New Jersey federal criminal defense lawyer takes a close look at what constitutes federal mail fraud and what to do if you have been accused of this crime.
The Federal Mail Fraud Statute
Under Federal Statute 18 U.S.C. 1341 – Frauds And Swindles, federal mail fraud occurs essentially when an individual tries to cheat or cause another individual to cheat someone by means of the U.S. Postal Service or any other carrier that delivers mail or packages across state lines. The law has broad applications and could at some point be exercised against practically anyone. After all, we all use the mail.
The Question Of Intent
Under federal law, however, you cannot commit mail fraud inadvertently. For federal charges to be brought against you, the prosecution must have reason to believe that you knew what you were doing and meant to cheat someone of money or other valuables. Then they have to prove it. It is this question of intent that you and your New Jersey federal criminal defense attorney must address in your defense.
Deception Is Not Enough
The object of mail fraud generally is to induce the victim to turn over money while receiving nothing in return by means of trickery. Illusory or less-than-reliable claims of products or services offered are not sufficient grounds for mail fraud if the services or products are legal and forthcoming. A sales letter with something resembling a check inside promising you a rebate on a product is not mail fraud if a disclaimer states that it is not a check and the rebate is real. There is a difference between such a sales letter and a material representation. A material representation is designed to trigger an action on the part of the recipient based on false information in order to get something for nothing. The victim would never normally have taken such an action had the false information not led him or her to it. The information in the letter may be factually true, but if the letter were part of a larger scheme to cheat the recipient it is still considered mail fraud. Even if the scheme fails, the attempt to defraud can be grounds for charges to be brought.
The Potential Penalties are Severe
Mail fraud is serious and can carry severe penalties upon conviction. The potential penalties include such consequences as years in prison, extremely high fines, forfeiture of assets, and restitution.
If You Are Charged
If you or a loved one are charged with or under investigation for federal mail fraud, you should immediately call a New Jersey federal criminal defense attorney experienced in federal mail fraud cases. You can contact Tim Anderson at (732) 212-2812 to discuss such a case.
Federal criminal charges can carry extensive penalties, including lengthy prison sentences or major financial consequences. Moreover, the presence of a federal offense on one’s criminal record can preclude that person from obtaining an employment position or gaining admission to an academic institution. To avoid these results, working with a New Jersey federal criminal defense lawyer throughout the process is essential – but, what should a criminal defendant look for when contacting New Jersey federal criminal defense attorneys?
Understanding Criminal vs. Civil Representation
If you are facing your first criminal offense and are looking for representation, it helps to understand the differences between New Jersey federal criminal defense attorneys and those attorneys that practice predominantly civil work. A civil attorney is one who represents clients in individual, private lawsuits. These generally involve a personal injury, allegations of civil monetary fraud or a breach of contract. By contrast, a criminal defense attorney defends against criminal charges filed by the state or federal government under the applicable penal code. The government is the plaintiff and the accused is the defendant. When choosing a New Jersey criminal defense attorney for a federal case, your best bet is to select a representative who focuses almost 100 percent on federal criminal defense work.
Experience is Vital
When choosing a New Jersey federal criminal defense lawyer– even if he or she practices in other areas – the key component is experience. Does your attorney have a background in defending federal crimes? Has your attorney successfully defended others facing similar charges? If the answer to these questions is “yes,” you are likely in good hands. However, if your attorney is experienced mostly in civil litigation, and has never defended against federal fraud or drug crimes, you may want to keep searching for an advocate with a more finely-tuned focus on federal criminal defense.
Choose an Attorney with whom You Feel Comfortable
The best attorney-client relationship is one in which both sides feel comfortable with open, honest and candid conversation. While there are many New Jersey federal criminal defense lawyers available, only a select few will make you feel comfortable and respected. When selecting your lawyer, choose someone who speaks to you using clear, understandable language –showing a general desire to help you with your criminal case.
Find The Right Federal Criminal Defense Lawyer Today
For a New Jersey federal criminal defense lawyer who meets these criteria – and more – please contact attorney Tim Anderson at 732-212-2812 right away.
If you have been charged with a federal white collar crime, you may end up facing sentencing pursuant to the United States Sentencing Guideline’s (USSG) section 2B1.1. This and other related guidelines are very complicated, and you may need a New Jersey white collar criminal defense lawyer to help you understand the charges and penalties you face.
Determining Your Criminal Penalties
The penalties for most white collar crimes like theft, embezzlement, and fraud are determined by applying section 2B1.1 of the sentencing guidelines. That section relates to basic economic offenses and provides a points-system to determine your potential penalties. A New Jersey white collar criminal defense lawyer can explain to you the steps to determine your potential penalty:
- Base Points. There are base points assigned to every criminal charge. For example, standard fraud typically carries six or seven points.
- Points Enhancements. Depending upon how much economic loss your crime resulted in, you may receive points enhancement. For example, causing $10,000 of damages will add four points, while creating $100,000 of damages will result in eight additional points. Also, points are added for such other factors as the use of “sophisticated means” or the “abuse of a position of trust” in allegedly carrying out the crime.
- Aggravating Circumstances. There are further potential aggravating factors that may increase your sentencing guidelines point total, such as if the victims are elderly or if a minor was involved in the commission of the crime, or if you were a leader or manager of others also involved in the offense.
- Mitigating Factors. There are also circumstances that may mitigate the penalties you face, such as if you only played a minimal or minor role in the crime or if you accept responsibility.
After assessing the potential factors that could apply to your situation, you then add up your point total to determine your total offense level. A judge will consider this along with your criminal history level to determine your exact sentencing guidelines range — the potential length of time to serve.
You should keep in mind that the sentencing guidelines are only advisory and that a judge may consider other factors in your case, to come to a sentence that is sufficient, but no greater than necessary.
Contact a New Jersey White Collar Criminal Defense Attorney
To learn more about the charges you face and potential penalties, schedule a consultation with attorney Tim Anderson at 732-212-2812.